Ten years on civil partnerships should be for all…

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan are expecting their first baby. Like many other couples they want to demonstrate their commitment to each other and ensure that their new family has legal (and financial) protection.

But they don’t want to get married.

For Rebecca and Charles that’s because, as feminists, they reject traditional, “patriarchal” marriage. We’ve heard many other reasons from many other people (you can tell us yours by signing our declaration.)

They woud like to enter a civil partnership. But they can’t, because, as the registar declared when they went to give “notice of intention” to form a civil partnership, they’re not the same sex. The civil partnership act states it is only for “same-sex couples”.

Rebecca and Charles are challenging this in court using judicial review. We will be particularly interested to see how the Government will defend this now same sex couples can choose to marry or form a civil partnership. Previous attemps by oppositve sex couples were made (we think) before same legislation was changed so sex couple could get married.

And on Friday, Tim Loughton MP is proposing a private members bill that would remove the word “same-sex” from the Civil Partnership act. It’s very unlikely to get anywhere because most of Tim’s Conservative colleagues won’t agree with him and Labour MPs, who we hope will, are unlikely to support a bill proposed by a Conservative MP. (It’s also unusual for us to be supporting rather than clashing with Tim Loughton who’s a big fan of the marriage tax allowance…).

Julianne Marriott, spokesperson for Don’t Judge My Family, said:

“We believe that great relationships come in all shapes and sizes but the best ones are built on commitment and partnership. Opening up civil partnerships to everyone would give couples who choose not to marry the option to ensure their relationship and family still received the same legal and financial protection as if they were married.”

If you want to support Rebecca and Charles you can sign their petition (but make sure you sign ours too!) and you can contribute to their legal costs. We’ll let you know more when we do.